Letters to the Editor

BND readers sound-off on TIFs, Belleville excitement, mayor race

Stop the TIFs

The Belleville council just approved $200,000 worth of tax incentives for The Edge. I think they would have built here anyway, that $200,000 wasn’t the deciding factor. It is just another way that Belleville gives away our money. And how long is it going to take Belleville to get its $38 million dollar investment back from the Shrine project?

Belleville’s a happening place

I visited downtown Belleville last week and could not believe the energy and excitement I experienced — quality eating establishments, a wonderful atmosphere and well maintained grounds. Congrats to Mayor Eckert and the citizens of Belleville for having such great vision and leadership. I’m coming back next Saturday.

Cook cares little for city

Dallas Cook wants to be mayor? He never shows at any volunteer events, chamber functions or any other event you would expect a community leader to attend. He cares so little about our community and it would be frightening to have him as mayor.

‘Yes’ to Cook, ‘no’ to loans

Property owners that still live in Belleville should vote for Dallas Cook in April. Mayor Eckert and his bobbleheaded alderman have had TIFs declared null and void. Why should Belleville taxpayers give millions to private businesses to succeed? Let them borrow from banks like everyone else.

Bad bridge to airport parking

The BND recently reported both good and bad St. Clair County fiscal news. About 18 percent of the county’s bridges have been deemed structurally deficient and in need of attention. Meanwhile there’s plenty more free parking coming to MidAmerica Airport.

Kernan hits municipal taxpayers

St. Clair Highway Commissioner Skip Kernan is unfair to residents in Swansea, Shiloh and Fairview Heights. Kernan increased the permanent road tax by $450,000 during his term of office because he refused to abate the tax as was done by the previous road commissioner. This tax is paid by all township residents but municipal residents derive no benefit from the tax because their roads are taken care of by their municipalities.

Township road employee pay

Highway Commissioner Kernan is paying township road employees $28.75 per hour and giving them free healthcare using our tax money. I wonder what he pays his employees at his business in Swansea?

Add an ‘i’ to IDOT

IDOT shelves Gateway Connector. In other words, the politicians know they will never have enough money to complete the project. Wonder what will happen to all the land politicians bought up hoping to make a killing, when the state came knocking with a land buyout? IDOT director of communications, Guy Tridgell said, “This decision allows IDOT to focus on projects that create jobs and sustained economic growth.” Hey Tridgell, wasn’t the Gateway Connector project supposed to create jobs? Remember voters, if the acronym IDOT had another “I” it would be IDIOT.

Hair-raising questioning

Now we have to tolerate being interrogated by our hairdresser. This is a sad and pathetic situation in the state of Illinois. Just another example of the collective insanity of the Illinois legislature.

Different president, same treatment

In his recent letter Gene Robke said Obama did a pretty good job, “considering the disrespect he received, the mess he inherited and the unprecedented obstruction he endured, compliments of Republicans.” Change “Republicans” to “Democrats” and that describes Trump’s first month in office.

Compromise at O’Fallon High

I wanted to comment on the exceptional leadership in O’Fallon School District 203. Interesting how Superintendent Darcy Benway is willing to cut after-school activities like swimming and lacrosse, but is unwilling to compromise on her $210,000 annual salary. But hey, it’s all about the kids.

Caseyville Township roads lacking

John Waldron, the Caseyville Township Highway Commissioner, needs to be replaced. He never does anything on the roads.

Rauner misses the party

What is going on with Bruce Rauner? He didn’t attend the inauguration and then he was absent from the governor’s meeting at the White House. Rauner needs to stop acting like an obstructionist Democrat.

Obscene cartoon of DeVos

The illustration of Betsy DeVos “playing” civil rights heroine Ruby Bridges is obscene. Ruby Bridges braved hostility to support equal public education. Betsy DeVos faces hostility for trying to destroy it.

Cartoon hits the mark

Judging from all the feedback, editorial political cartoonist Glenn McCoy is doing just what he’s supposed to do, combine artistic skill, hyperbole and satire in order to question authority and draw attention to corruption, political violence and other social ills. His recent Betsy DeVos cartoon is a good example. Our Secretary of Education, nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, should be able to visit a school without fear of life and limb.

Learn from O’Fallon cops?

I was happy to see the BND doing a story about crime in Belleville. It has been getting considerably worse in the city especially on the east end. Chief Clay’s answer about crime wasn’t an answer, it was a question. I wanted him to tell us what he’s going to do to change it. O’Fallon has a much smaller police force and they don’t have near the crime that we do. What are they doing differently.

On patrol, not in office

Chief Clay says that Belleville has 85 police officers. What he neglects to say is that these 85 officers are rarely on the streets. We are lucky to have five per shift. I think more people need to be on the street rather than sitting in the office.

If they strike, can we tell?

It is hard to know if the Illinois employees are on strike or not because it’s not like you see them do any work. Taxpayers pay their exorbitant salaries and we don’t see any benefit from that.

Replace state workers

I’d like to see the Illinois labor union go on strike and I hope Rauner replaces every one of them. They are overpaid and under worked.

Firing back at Costello

State Rep. Jerry Costello who wants to end the firearm owner’s ID cards states in his interview that his job is to make sure the Constitution is followed. Instead of worrying about that, he should care about the gangster Madigan up in Chicago. Get that crook Michael Madigan to release his hold on Illinois and get a budget passed.

Volunteers are not paid

A recent article in the BND quoted some figures about AmeriCorp volunteers. With those sorts of benefits, they are not “volunteers”.

Bost loses touch with voters

Congressman Michael Bost wants us to vote for him, but when he’s elected he doesn’t care about the people in his district. I guess the congressman is more interested in the way his party wants him to vote than the way his constituents want him to.

Blame Bost’s staffers

Congressman Michael Bost isn’t the problem. His aides are the issue. The same thing happened when Bill Enyart was our congressman, he had to hire certain political connections. I’ve had problems with his office since Day One.

Vendors should collect tax

The city of Belleville wants to raise sales tax, why don’t they enforce sales tax collection. There are too many businesses not paying or cheating. The Flea Market and other events at the Fairgrounds is one example. None of the vendors charge sales tax or even record the sale. I have never paid sales tax on anything there. I heard the vendors are supposed to have tax numbers, but one vendor told me it’s just a formality and he doubts anyone pays sales tax. He said he sells thousands of dollars in merchandise but never pays sales tax. This is very unfair to struggling downtown businesses.

Rumor news rubs raw

The BND appears to have fallen into the trap of publishing rumors and innuendo as news. A recently printed Associated Press article warning of a “draft plan” for immigration roundups is a good example. It’s like serving up an unpeeled raw potato and a raw egg still in the shell on a plate and calling it a chicken dinner.

Illegal immigrants are a drag

What is the big deal with immigration restrictions? Currently the Middle East is fighting to kill Christians with bombings. Their jihad is a holy war against the rest of the world. Do you think the U.S. allowed easy entry of Japanese and German immigrants during WWII? Why not enforce the laws and make illegal immigrants leave this country? Illegal immigrants do not pay taxes and drag this country down.

Health care or advertising?

I did not know government is allowed to promote businesses. Yet, when I went to the Health Department website I saw information about heart disease in women. When I clicked on it, it was a Macy’s ad. Do our tax dollars pay for that?